Tekken Tag Tournament 2 certainly provided quite a show during its first showing at an Evolution tournament. The entire top eight was full of amazing matches between a ton of international competition. Longtime player Bronson Tran nearly swept through two Korean players to take first, but was stopped by Knee’s amazing Bruce and overall skill in this tag battle game.
You can read a full rundown of each top eight match below. Results for this and other games can be found in our Evo 2013 coverage hub.
Top 8 Winners – AGE|Stringbean (Bob/Alisa) vs. AGE|JustFrameJames (Yoshimitsu/Marshall Law)
These two teammates started their match with immediate offense, Stringbean’s combination of Bob and Alisa securing the very first round quickly by keeping JustFrameJames’ Yoshimitsu and Marshall Law stuck near the wall. James took many risks continuing on through the first game, but Stringbean was able to work around his pressure and punish raw tags accordingly, which helped him go up 1-0 very quickly.
James took a very early lead in the first round of the second game, but Stringbean kept it close with a handful of smart reads. The former’s amazing use of Yoshimitsu pokes allowed him to regain his early advantage and take the first round, momentum that he carried into a subsequent second round win. A combination of inopportune whiffs and raw tags put Stringbean down very early in the third round, but he fought back and took it at the wire thanks to a smart low parry.
Tied at two rounds apiece, the two competitors went at it with all they had, James fighting back admirably with his patented raw tags and oppressive Yoshimitsu, but it would eventually be Stringbean who squeaked by with a deserved victory.
Top 8 Winners – CafeId|Knee (Lars/Devil Jin) vs. CafeId|Nin (Marduk/Steve)
Two more teammates were matched up in winners bracket, this time from the Korea-based CafeId. Nin scored a very quick first victory with his dominant combination of Marduk and Steve. They definitely showed that they have spent a ton of time training together, reading aspects of each other’s game quickly and reacting with optimal punishes. Knee’s Lars and Devil Jin frequently found themselves on the wrong end of Marduk’s heavy damage, but ended up tying the first game with two games apiece thanks to his constant pokes. Nin almost lost control of the final round due to a dropped combo, but was able to jump right back into the fray and take the first game.
Going into the second game, Knee opted to place Devil Jin in the opening position to try and whittle down Nin’s Marduk. It didn’t seem to work out early on, missing punishes that could have put him back in the game. Nin was content to sit back with a huge health advantage, but became too complacent and allowed his teammate to work his way inside and take advantage of a wall combo to take the first round. The two competitors danced around, letting the timer go down to single digits as they waited for opportunities to deal damage. Knee would eventually take two more rounds, making it three straight to even out the overall game score against Nin.
Knee continued to play Devil Jin on point, allowing Nin to dictate the early parts of each round with his Steve before going in for the kill. While Jin was certainly the gem on Knee’s team, his Lars was certainly no slouch when he was tagged in, setting up impressive tag combos for huge damage. Nin’s smart lows almost put him back into the game as the timer ran down, but a slight advantage would go to Knee as well as the round. Knee’s back was to the wall figuratively and literally down two rounds, but a throw break would flip the table and allow Knee to score a round. With the lead narrowed, Nin would show no signs of slowing down and secure the second game thanks to a variety of amazing reads
Top 8 Losers – Eightarc|Mateo (Jack-6/Feng, Bob/Slim Bob) vs. Eightarc|Bronson (Ogre/Jinpachi)
Another match, another set of teammates battling it out for continued life in the top eight bracket. Bronson went for huge damage early on with Ogre and Jinpachi, but would be whittled down gradually by Mateo’s Jack-6. Bronson’s big body team would eventually secure a win in the first round. An amazing wall hit would give Bronson a two round lead, but his pressure would be deflected and reciprocated in the third, narrowing the gap for Mateo.
Mateo would switch to the nearly identical characters of Bob and Slim Bob in the second game, hoping to take advantage of their skills to slow down Bronson’s momentum. Bronson took the first and second rounds quickly with smart reads in the wakeup game. Mateo would have absolutely no answer for Bronson’s dominant offense, and the longtime Tekken competitor would take the second game easier than the first.
Top 8 Losers – MoneyInc|Kayyal (Armor King/) vs. MoneyInc|EddieBoyMang (Christie/Eddy)
The last match of the top eight’s first round would see another pair of competitors from the same team go at it. Kayyal’s combination of the Kings would provide a lot for EddieBoyMang to watch out for with his own team of similar characters, Christie and Eddie. EBM would take a hard fought first round in the starting game, only to be perfected seconds into the next. Eddie’s long range would prove to be a boon for EBM as the set continued, netting him decent damage off pokes and eventually wearing his Money Inc. teammate down for the round advantage. An opportune hopkick at the last minute would net Kayyal the tying round, and a series of great punishes would give him the first game.
Kayyal’s wake up game early in the second game would keep the two players close, and EBM’s risky choices would lost him the first round. His dancers would fall again to Kayyal’s grapplers after a few opportune reads and great health management. Kayyal’s movement with the Kings would secure him a third straight round and the chance to continue on in the losers bracket.
Top 8 Losers – AGE|JustFrameJames (Yoshimitsu/Marshall Law) vs. Eightarc|Bronson (Ogre/Jinpachi)
The next losers match would be the first in this top eight to not be between two teammates. Early throw usage by Bronson with Ogre would earn him a very early health advantage on both of James’ characters, who he was able to clean up handily with a tag to Jinpachi. Bronson’s smart pressure game would earn him a close second round, and he would eventually take the first game thanks to his ability to maneuver his big characters for optimal pokes and combos.
James thought it best to pair Marshall with Hwoarang in the second round, but it would be unfortunately be the same old song against Bronson’s dominant offense. No matter the character, he found a way around James’ defense, carrying the opposing fighters around the stage with seemingly little effort. This game would go much quick, securing three straight rounds to move on further into the losers bracket.
Top 8 Losers – MoneyInc|Kayyal (King/Armor King) vs. CafeId|Nin (Marduk/Steve)
This losers bracket match would see these two in a runback from their performance at Wednesday Night Fights. Leading with King, Kayyal looked to deal as much damage as he could early on, dropping early but fighting back. Nin would take the first round. The Korean player would move into position for a win many times, but the heavy-hitting of Kayyal’s King team would even the score. Nin’s sways would secure him a second round as well as a large health advantage in the third, which he would take handily as Kayyal tried to battle back.
A variety of damaging wall carries allowed Nin to carry his momentum from the first game into the second. He took the first round and saw similar success early in the second before going up by two. Kayyal maneuvered admirably through Nin’s Marduk, but a few rage combos would see the Korean battle back and take a third straight round.
Winners Finals – AGE|Stringbean (Bob/Alisa) vs. CafeId|Knee (Devil Jin/Lars)
Though the Koreans were strong favorites, Stringbean would see some early success against Knee thanks to his excellent Bob/Alisa combination. Defensive play and a quick punish near the end of the first round would secure an initial advantage for Stringbean, but Knee was far from fazed. Stringbean would take one character down in health, only to allow Knee to utilize some scary rage combo damage and tie things up. The next round would go down to the wire in terms of both health and time, but an opportune lightning in the jaws of defeat gave Knee the lead in round count. Stringbean nearly snatched his own close victory away as time wound down in the final round, but was unable to overcome the damage done by Knee’s punishes.
Knee continued to punish at every opportunity where had frame advantage, allowing Stringbean to make mistakes and then making him pay for. The Korean powerhouse would keep his combos simple yet damaging to keep from opening himself up to Stringbean, who tried to make things happen late in rounds only to be read correctly and taken out. Bob was effectively shut out of Stringbean’s game, forcing him to work back mostly with Alisa. Knee would take three straight rounds to score a victory in the second game.
Losers Semifinals – Eightarc|Bronson (Steve/Marduk) vs. CafeId|Nin (Ogre/Jinpachi)
Bronson would see the pressure he used so effectively in earlier sets turned against him in his first round against Nin. Dropping Nin’s team to low health in the second and waiting to press his advantage worked wonderfully, but he was subsequently perfected in the third to make the round count 2-1 for Nin. The Korean’s Marduk would find himself trapped by Bronson’s Jinpachi pressure, a gameplan that eventually saw him tie the rounds at two apiece. Both competitors continued to play risky near the wall, and Bronson would snatch victory away after going down early to secure the first game.
Commenting continually that he was only a casual player, Bronson rode the hype from the crowd after winning the first game into another come-from-behind round victory. The second round was also close, but Bronson continued to pressure Nin no matter the health differences to go up two games. Reckless play from Bronson would give Nin an opening to turn the tide in his favor, but the crowd continued to cheer the American player. A costly mistake from Nin would place Marduk near the wall, where Bronson decimated him, eliminating the Korean powerhouse and securing a spot in the losers finals against Stringbean.
Losers Finals – AGE|Stringbean (Bob/Alisa) vs. Eightarc|Bronson (Ogre/Jinpachi)
While appearing subdued, Bronson carried the hype from his match against Nin into the losers finals, taking a quick first round off Stringbean with a pressure similar to previous games. He would give up late into the second round in the face of an insurmountable health difference, allowing Stringbean to tie it up. Strinbean eventually went up a single game thanks to smart tags and pokes with Alisa, dominating Bronson’s larger team with optimal combos. Bronson would tag in Ogre to take advantage of the activated rage mode, a move that would give him the round and even the count at two. Seemingly uninterested in health differences, Bronson would continue to pressure Stringbean, though the latter would eventually gain a one game advantage thanks to the punishes he was afforded.
The second game would end up being an all-out brawl between Stringbean and Bronson, the two competitors dancing around the arena before clashing time and time again. They traded rounds thanks to smart, incremental damage pokes. Bronson would then go up one round, avoiding much of Alisa’s offense in the next. His health advantage would allow him to take more chances and take the second game.
Ogre netted much of Bronson’s damage in earlier rounds, but this third game would see him use the beast as a shield against Stringbean’s game with Bob and Alisa, allowing Jinpachi to further the health difference. After taking the first round, Stringbean would take advantage of a couple costly mistakes to make the second much closer, but Bronson would again find to maneuver into range and defeat his opponent. Stringbean failed to utilize the opportunities he was afforded to end the game against Bronson, and would eventually fall to Bronson.
Grand Finals – CafeId|Knee (Bruce/Devil Jin) vs. Eightarc|Bronson (Ogre/Jinpachi)
California’s Bronson Tran certainly had the crowd’s support heading into the grand finals match against Knee, but he had quite a road ahead of him before this tournament was through. Knee pulled out a pocket Bruce to try and counter Bronson’s Ogre, a move that would net him a quick first round victory. Bronson would use his throw game to try and close out the second round, but Knee would continue to take what he was given and weave around the American’s pressure. A throw late in the third round would nearly secure a first round for Bronson, but Knee continued to battle back and eventually took the first game with three straight rounds.
Bronson would pull back a bit from his typical presure-heavy playstyle in the second game, working around Knee’s antagonizing Bruce to go up by two rounds very quickly. Knee appeared to find a way around this by taking a single game, but Bronson would take the entire game 3-1 with the crowd’s support.
Knee continued to be harassed by Bronson’s throw game with Ogre early in the first round, but overcame the smart pressure game gain the round advantage. While he was able to eventually go up two rounds, Knee appeared to show some tournament nerves by missing a few punish opportunities against Bronson’s big body team. Despite the missteps, Knee would take the advantage again by going up 2-1.
Things looked bad for Bronson early on, as an inopportune backdash would give Knee just what he need to earn a victory in the first round. The Korean player would quickly reach tournament point, working around Bronson’s defense fluidly and with little resistance. Bronson went down huge in the third round and was unable to come back, securing Knee the championship.
(images courtesy of Karaface)